28 Aug

LOOT *****

Aline Waites
26 Aug (2 days ago)

to reviews

by Joe Orton
At The Park Theatre
It is difficult to believe that this was shocking in the sixties because of its jokes about religion, sex, murder, and the Police. Its run of the mill comedy these days. Somebody in the audience mentions Tarantino.!
But It is in fact a deliciously outrageous black comedy and crackling with wit. Joe Orton was a worthy successor to Oscar Wilde and one wonders what would have happened had he not been murdered shorty after this jet-black load of sacrilegious fun was written. It is a ruthless satire on the obsession of death and the fashionable attitudes of sorrow.
It is an elegantly devised black and white set. With a prominently displayed Roman Catholic cross. The most important piece of furniture is a table on which resides a coffin with wreaths planted on top and around it. This coffin is occupied by the corpse of Mrs McLeavy- a lady who has been lovingly attended by the nurse Fay McMahon who in addition to her nursing abilities has also a neat line in consolation for husbands – the good man Mr McLeavy.
Fay McMahon as played by the amazingly gifted Sinead Matthews, starts up the whole play by reporting on what is happening in the house of death. ‘Have you thought of remarrying?’ she asks the grieving husband. He replies that he would like to get the funeral over first. She remarks that she thinks a couple of weeks would be long enough.
The son Hal (Sam Frenchum) with his best friend Dennis (Calvin Demba)  – who works next door at the funeral parlour – have robbed a bank and they decided the coffin would be a really good place to hide the spoils and the previous tenant  is bundled into the closet.
The boys have just managed to heave the corpse into the cupboard when Christopher Fulford – a strange man in a Trilby hat enters calling himself Truscott, a minister of the local water board. He is of course a psychotic policeman – the living image of the one who had arrested Joe a short time ago – a perfect example of the author’s disgust at institutions who seek to control and inhibit individuality.
Orton had taken all his bad experiences and his obsessions against authority and turned them into a exceptionally funny farce. It is a happy change for the audience to enjoy truly witty dialogue – something that happens rarely in the twenty first century.
Some inconsequential bits of previously removed dialogue have been replaced in the script. The production was performed with a real body as the corpse which had not been allowed before. Anah Ruddin, the actress was remarkably flexible as she was asked to be thrust into so many awkward positions, but her plight in the production gave it an extra  slapstick element – wonderfully orchestrated and irresistible.
Michael Fentiman has made a wonderful job of this, the Orton fiftieth anniversary.   It is a delight from start to finish.

One Response to “loot”

  1. susanrdo August 29, 2017 at 3:26 am #

    Just wish I was there to see it with you!!!

    Hugs and love,



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